Cardinal Franciszek Macharski
Foreword to the book

Maybe it is good that the initial word belongs to one of the elderly witnesses of the birth of the dialogue in Auschwitz, i.e. the Oświęcim dialogues.

This land speaks of what has happened on it, the voice of facts is always a partner in the conversation, and one must allow, even more invite this voice to speak. The year 1972 became a mighty cry: it was the voice of a man whose name was Maximilian, a Catholic priest, he had the number 16670, we heard him a year after his beatification. Seven years later at the Holy Mass between the walls of the camp barracks, Pope John Paul II interpreted Maximilian’s cry for love of man and for recognition of his dignity and rights.

I was able to take up this topic of Auschwitz, which became the leitmotif of the reconciliation of two nations: German and Polish. There was a return to Europe’s Christian roots! Bishops of both nations in the place next to the death bunker signed a request for the canonization of Father Maximillian as a martyr. We live from these roots.

And one more testimony about the dialogue – with representatives of the Jewish people. Difficult dialogue. Its first fruit was the construction of a new Carmelite monastery and the “Centre for Dialogue and Prayer”.

Both fruits are from a tree that lives from European roots. The roots are calling not to deny them. In them is living wisdom and the power of truth about man, his rights and duties. Without them the unimaginably worst for civilization would be possible – but mutual veneration and respect, love and a place for God can save people and their world.

I thank the friends of our “Oświęcim dialogues” for persistent loyalty and help. I thank God for them, and invite you – being invited myself – to the community around Auschwitz.

+ Franciszek Card. Macharski

Cracow, August 19, 2003

Published first in Polish: Dialog u progu Auschwitz, Kraków 2003